In accordance with its Constitution, Pro Igel e.V. campaigns for our native hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus Linné 1758) only, so we cannot campaign actively for exotic hedgehogs whose husbandry as pets or in pet shops cause claim.
Pro Igel is categorically against exotic hedgehogs being kept in captivity. Our knowledge of all species of hedgehogs informs the argument emphatically against the keeping of such hedgehogs.
Hence our appeal to all animal lovers: Do not purchase or breed exotic hedgehogs!
Some information about exotic hedgehogs as pets
About twenty years ago African white-bellied hedgehogs (Atelerix albiventris) began to be imported into the USA. When it was discovered that some of the hedgehogs were infested with ticks, which can be dangerous to cattle, the American Ministry of Agriculture prohibited further imports. But sufficient animals had already been imported into the country for large scale breeding of the “African Pygmy Hedgehog” or “dwarf hedgehog”. By this time, the hedgehogs were being offered for sale in different colours (eg “chocolate” “snowflake”, “cinnamon”), and if there was no breeder in the vicinity, a hedgehog would be flown to the purchaser by plane. Pet shops offer all sorts of accessories and special food.
Even in Germany, Austria, Scandanavia and the Netherlands white bellied hedgehogs (Atelerix albiventris), desert hedgehogs (Paraechinus aethiopicus) and longeared hedgehogs (Hemiechinus auritus) are bred and offered for sale in pet shops, in the internet or directely by breeders. German owners of exotic hedgehogs who are skilled try to house them as appropriate to the speciesbig as possible in big terrariums, to give them alternations, care for them appropriate and feed them well-balanced on basis of scientific knowledge.
For mistreated, behaviourally disturbed and “superfluous” dwarf hedgehogs cares in USA a spezial organisation, in Germany some breeders undertake the task to take in needy white bellied hedgehogs, care for them and possibly convey them.
Hedgehog owners in some countries allied to associations and/or breeder clubs, an “International Hedgehog Club” has been formed too. Also there is an “International Hedgehog Register”, which wants to maintain the “quality” of the animals.
Pro Igel refers that all species of hedgehog are completely unsuitable as domestic pets, not only because they are nocturnal animals and have specific needs with regard to care and nutrition, but also because of their high demands for care and nutrition. Furthermore their impulse to move around is formidable restricted by imprisoning them in a cage or a terrarium.
For those people who already own these animals, we have included some addresses in our list of Links where at least they may be able to get advice on how to care for these hedgehogs properly.
We refer also dedicated hedgehog conservationists and animal lovers who may be asked about exotic hedgehogs as pets, to the field report of Dr. Ditte and Giovanni Bandini, which you can access under Booklets online.